Psychological heuristics and faculty of color: Racial battle fatigue and tenure/promotion

Noelle Witherspoon Arnold, Emily R. Crawford, Muhammad Khalifa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Faculty who have been historically excluded from participating in academia present a unique quandary for those who have traditionally held power at the university. This article explores the promotion and tenure (P&T) process of Black faculty using a psychological construct to examine how racial micro-aggressions manifest and articulate themselves through individual and organizational phenomena such as Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF). We applied a psychological approach to narrative inquiry to examine how two faculty of color experienced the P&T process. Participant narratives highlighted how much of the P&T process, and even engagement in academia in general, is articulated by likability or congeniality—two constructs absent from P&T policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)890-919
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Higher Education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Black faculty
  • Promotion and tenure
  • Psychological heuristics
  • Racial battle fatigue


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